Student Visas

Different countries have differing visa systems and acceptance procedures, however they are usually very similar:

  • To study in the UK you need 40 points to apply for a UK student visa through the UK points based system. 30 points are awarded for doing a course at an acceptable level with an approved education provider (also known as a sponsorship). 10 points are awarded for proving that you have enough money to cover your study and living costs.
  • To study in the US you need to prove that you have a permanent residence in your country of citizenship, have the funds to support your study and intend to return home once your study is complete.
  • To study in Australia you also need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your course fees and living costs. You will also be assessed based on the subject you have chosen and your country of citizenship.
  • To study in Europe you do not require a visa if your country of citizenship is an EU member. If you are outside of the EU you should check your chosen destination’s visa requirements for more specific details.
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F-1 and M-1 VISAS:

There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for people who want to study in the United States; the “F” visa for ‘academic’ studies, and the “M” visa for nonacademic or vocational studies.


1. You must have successfully completed a course of study. Unless you are coming to participate exclusively in an English language training program, you must either be sufficiently proficient in English to pursue the intended course of study, or the school must have made special arrangements for English language courses or teach the course in your native language.
2. Financial Funding:
You must prove that you have sufficient funds or that funds will be available from an identified and reliable financial source to cover the costs of your living and school expenses during the entire period of anticipated study in the United States.
3. Approved Educational Institutions & Forms: If you are coming to the United States to study, you must be accepted for a full course of study by an educational institution which is “approved” by USCIS. The institution you will be attending must send you a Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students. If you are applying for the nonacademic or vocational visa (M-1), the institution must send you a Form I-20M-N, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status For Vocational Students. The Educational institution you will be attending can obtain Forms I-20A-B and I-20M-N from the INS.

Who is NOT Eligible:

In some instances an applicant who is ineligible for a student visa, but who is otherwise properly classifiable as a student, may apply for a Waiver of Ineligibility and be issued a visa if the Waiver is approved.
How to Apply for a Student Visa:
After receiving the I-20 A-B or the I-20 M-N, you apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate which has jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of your permanent residence.

Required Documents:
1. You must fill out and present a Form DS-156, with a photo of you taken within the past six months and the required fee which is non-refundable;
2. A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the USA. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;
3. One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background, no smiling, no glasses; and 4. For the “F” applicant, a Form I-20A-B; for the “M” applicant, a Form I-20M-N;
5. Evidence of sufficient funds.
6. You must pay a nonrefundable application fee (check the U.S. Consulate or Embassy website that you are applying at for instructions about submitting the application and paying the required fees).
Other Documentation Required:
You must show to the satisfaction of the consular officer that you have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you will depart the United States when you have completed your studies (you must show that you intend to return to your homeland after you have completed your studies in the United States).
Employment issues while on a Student Visa:

* An F-1 student can NOT accept off-campus employment at any time during the first year of study; however, USCIS may give you permission to accept off-campus employment after the first year. F-1 students can accept on-campus employment from the school without USCIS permission.
* Except for temporary employment for practical training, an M-1 student may not accept employment.


Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children may also be classified for a nonimmigrant visa to accompany you to the United States. All family members must meet all visa eligibility requirements, including showing that they will have sufficient financial funds for their support, and that they will depart the U.S. when your student education program finishes. Spouses and children of students may not accept employment at any time while in the United States.

You can obtain Forms I-20A-B and I-20M-N only from the educational institution.
You can NOT obtain an F-1 visa to attend a U.S. public elementary or middle school (K-8). Anyone who wants to attend public high school (grades 9-12) in the United States on a student visa (F-1)must submit evidence that the local school district has been paid in advance for the unsubsidized per capita cost of the education. Also, attendance at U.S. public high schools cannot exceed a total of 12 months.

You can NOT be issued an F-1 visa in order to attend a publicly-funded adult education program. FIND A COLLEGE or UNIVERSITY:

International student organizations, including clubs that students form themselves (representing their various countries) are very common on college campuses. Many of them also have websites (accessible from their school’s site). Once you are interested in a school, you may want to see if there is a student club representing your country there, and ask the club (online) about conditions at the school.

We take all types of immigration cases and represent clients worldwide. International Immigration Services, P.A. can help you with your U.S. immigration matter, wherever you are